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Thursday, September 17
Traditionally on the opening day of a T&T tour, participants migrate south from their respective homes to Piarco International Airport (POS) in north-central Trinidad. The migration differed on this tour. Early on Thursday afternoon Fred and Marian and Sharla, who had arrived two days earlier, met our local expert, Martyn Kenefick, at POS. The four of them rendezvoused there with Barbara, Bob, and Lydia, newly arrived from the U.S. Martyn and a driver, Keon, ferried those six through the town of Arima and 12 miles up the Arima Valley into the coolness of the world famous Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC).
I arrived at POS at 7:30pm, claimed my luggage, cleared Customs & Immigration, discovered to my delight that for the first time ever I had cell phone connectivity, made a quick call back home, and then negotiated with a taxi driver to take me to AWNC. Before leaving the airport I converted a wad of $US to $TT for use throughout the tour. Then we headed north, stopping briefly in Temple Village to deliver an MP3 player and external speaker system to a friend. We passed Martyn as he headed back down the valley to fetch Jon and Eileen Kreisle at POS. The three of them arrived at AWNC after midnight, at which time all of my chicks were in the roost, so to speak. A happy ending to a long day for all.
During the tour we found a grand total of 219 species of birds, a very good number for a period during which migrants from North America are not as common as at other times – not that we were there to see North American migrants.
I would like to thank all of the participants – Charla, Lydia, Bob, Paul, Eileen, Jonathan, Fred, Marian, and Barbara – for helping to make this a very productive and enjoyable tour. As always I would like to extend special thanks to Martyn Kenefick for all of the time, energy, and thoughtfulness he put into making this a truly memorable birding adventure, and to Ivan La Rose, our excellent driver, lecturer, and friend.
Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted all images in this report were taken by Paul Koldovsky, who impressed us all, time and time again, with his near-instantaneous "grabs" of birds in flight. His reflexes are like those of a teenager!